Unhappy: Elizabeth Modise upset at R40k payout. Picture: Supplied
Unhappy: Elizabeth Modise upset at R40k payout. Picture: Supplied

Domestic worker evicted after voicing unhappiness over R40K ’retirement package’

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Jan 11, 2021

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Cape Town – Elizabeth Modise, the housekeeper who is unhappy with her “retirement package” of R40k offered by her employer of 30 years, has been evicted from the larney house in Somerset West.

Meanwhile, a workers’ union says although Elizabeth can sue her boss for failing to register her for UIF, it may not be worth her while in the end.

Speaking to the Daily Voice telephonically from Bloemfontein on Sunday, Elizabeth said her boss, German businessman Harald Scheppig, sent people on Friday to load her belongings and she was driven to the Free State where she is originally from.

“There has been no other communication from him other than the people who were sent to collect the keys and load my belongings,” she says.

UNHAPPY: Elizabeth Modise upset over R40k payout

“He is at home and ever since his return from Germany on 10 December, he has not said a word to me, he sends people.

“I was asked to vacate the property by 5pm on Friday and I am currently in Bloemfontein.

“I will be back on Monday (today) and I will stay with relatives until the matter is resolved.”

According to a retirement contract drawn up by her boss on 18 December, she had until 15 January to vacate the property.

“I thought I would vacate on the 15th and that was enough time for us to discuss this matter,” she says.

“The lawyers have not made contact with me even after the article (appeared in the Daily Voice).”

Scheppig is offering the 70-year-old live-in domestic worker a lump sum of R40 000 for her 30 years of service, as well as a monthly stipend of R1 500 until one of them dies.

But Elizabeth is not happy with the offer and believes she deserves more as she had been looking after the house, her boss and his many guests for three decades.

PICTURESQUE: The lavish Somerset West home. File photo

According to Modise’s contract, which the Daily Voice has seen, she and her boss “acknowledged” that items had been going missing from the house over the past few months, and that she would retire on 1 February 2021.

Elizabeth says she was earning R5 000 per month with no benefits and was not registered for the unemployment fund. She has never received a payslip either.

According to the Labour Department, any employee, including a domestic worker, who works for you for more than 24 hours a month must be registered with the UIF.

But SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union general secretary Myrtle Witbooi says Elizabeth faces an uphill battle to get more money from her boss.

“If she wants to report him for the UIF, she can but she won’t be paid out. She will still wait.

“According to law for retirement, she is entitled to one week’s wages for every year of service, which comes to R37 500 (excluding the R1 500 monthly stipend).

“If she was registered (with the UIF) she would have gotten about nine months’ payment but only 75% of her wages.

“Also the law doesn’t make it compulsory for a worker to get a pension.”

She advised Elizabeth to accept the offer.

Scheppig’s lawyers have reserved their right to comment on the matter, citing they are still in negotiations with Elizabeth.

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